THE First Minister has responded to news that the BBC will no longer broadcast her Covid-19 briefings.

Last night the corporation revealed it will only air updates based on their “editorial merit” – despite increasing coronavirus cases in Scotland and the rest of the UK.

The National asked Nicola Sturgeon for her views on the BBC’s decision after health and care representatives, including Scottish Care’s Donald Macaskill, warned the move will be particularly damaging for older people in society.

READ MORE: Health and care bodies urge BBC to reinstate Government Covid briefings

Sturgeon stressed that what the BBC shows “is a matter for the BBC” and not her as a politician.

But she added: “That said the televising of these briefings I think at a time like this has been a public service.”

The First Minister told viewers she believes it is “important” in allowing her to “communicate information and advice directly”.

Coming after Sturgeon announced new coronavirus restrictions relating to social gatherings – which come after rules have been eased for months – she used those changes as an example.

The First Minister said the briefings give her an “opportunity to explain the reasoning and rationale behind decisions we’re taking”. 

Scotland recorded 175 new coronavirus cases today, and has seen an increase in the number of positive cases recorded in recent weeks.

Sturgeon stressed “we are clearly now at a point where the virus is accelerating again”, adding that makes her ability to communicate with the public “more important not less important” .

Addressing Macaskill’s concerns, Sturgeon said it has “struck her” throughout the crisis that her updates have been “particularly important” for certain sectors of the population.

Those groups include older people, those with disabilities or hearing impairments, and those in the shielding category who are disproportionately older, more vulnerable people.

The BBC’s broadcasts of the briefings have been axed following complaints from Labour and Tory politicians.

READ MORE: Thousands urge BBC to reverse decision to stop airing Nicola Sturgeon's briefings

Addressing claims that her updates are political, Sturgeon told viewers: “I want people regardless of their politics to be able to listen and hear these messages which are so important.”

She told the briefing: "The ability for me and my colleagues to communicate directly with the public has never been more important."

More than 16,000 people have signed a petition calling for the BBC to reverse its decision, while the SNP’s depute leader has written to the director-general demanding “transparency” over the decision.

A BBC Scotland spokesperson told The National: "We will continue to provide extensive coverage of the government press conferences across our news services, including live streaming online.

“We will of course consider showing press conferences live when any major developments or updates are anticipated.”

The National will soon publish the First Minister’s full response to the BBC